Wilding releases whimsical new album ‘Whatever I Am’

Naarm/Melbourne artist Wilding has just dropped his latest album, Whatever I Am, a cleverly whimsical body of work that ponders the self, in matters both big and small.

“At its core, Whatever I Am is an album about generational identity. I seem to be asking… is this me? Was this me? Will this be me?”

Wilding’s playful lyrical genius is palpable throughout this record (which is out now via Half A Cow Records), exploring themes that range from a desire to escape the mundanity of everyday life, to the deep and thoughtful analysis of one’s own identity, and the crises that can stem from such a task.

The listener is led seamlessly from each strange and wonderful world to the next, across “misguided tech-love, the daily absurdities of trying to get by, freedom through velocity, stale misplaced dreams, and the struggle to get off the sofa.”

With a sound that dances between the styles of Britpop, post-punk, funk, neo-disco and more, Whatever I Am is a vibrant patchwork of wonderfully creative moments. It maintains its colourful sense of energy and whimsy even in darker lyrical instances; an unusually sunny demeanour in the face of adversity, to create a brilliantly effortless feeling of balance throughout. 

Wilding’s writing bares all, on this record, unafraid to reveal the brightest, darkest, and most commonplace of all the beautiful details that make up the self:

“The lyrics are the most important song element for me. I try to use characters, and sometimes obnoxious ones, to explore how I feel about myself and my place in the world. There’s a personal anxiety to it all but plenty of humour and empathy too.”

While frontman and songwriter Justin reflects that “[he is] the characters in [his] songs – unfortunately,” we are shown the complexity and versatility of the self through each absurd encounter. The magic of Wilding’s writing is the ability for each listener, when they stare into the kaleidoscopic pool of Whatever I Am, to see something of themself staring back at them.

The record captures the experience of pondering our own identity so vividly and honestly, that it is able to feel so personal and so universal, all at once:

“The characters in my songs each have their own ways of dealing with the daily absurdities of trying to get by. And each of them is a reflection of me. So, if that’s the case, what am I? I don’t know. I’m confused. I suppose that’s normal.”

Whatever I Am was recorded by Fabian Hunter (Jade Imagine, Zoe Fox, Baby Blue) at his Fishbones Tone Shack studio in Northcote, alongside Wilding frontman Justin Wilding Stokes, and Robin Waters (Eves Karydas, Dan Sultan, Ella Hooper). The album was mixed by ARIA Award-winning producer Wayne Connolly (The Teskey Brothers, You Am I, Babe Rainbow), followed by the mastering talents of John Lee (The Murlocs, The Stroppies).
Following the release of the new album, Wilding will be performing a one-off show at Melbourne’s beloved Old Bar in Fitzroy, bringing the whole band and some very talented friends along for the ride:
“I’m always excited to jump on stage with the Wilding band. It’s so energetic and euphoric! It’s exciting times for us as we move forward as an established band, rather than a solo project. We’ll be getting to regional Victoria and the East Coast again soon.
We’re launching the album at our favourite watering hole, The Old Bar, Fitzroy on Friday 10 May. Joining Wilding will be the melancholically uplifting jangle-pop of Redspencer and the post-punk sounds of newcomers Follies.”  WILDING

Friday May 10th The Old Bar Melbourne
Supported by Redspencer and Follies